IOWA CITY, Ia. – Luke Recker was in a Las Vegas sportsbook a week ago, watching Iowa’s basketball game with Michigan State.
He saw the Hawkeyes’ Devyn Marble make a nifty spin move, get in the lane and take a shot that would have won the game in the final seconds of regulation.
“I think he made a good, solid move,” said Recker, a last-second hero several times during his Iowa career. “Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.”
Marble’s game-winning attempt kicked off the iron, and Melsahn Basabe couldn’t coax in a second attempt.
“From an execution standpoint, we did what we wanted to do,” Marble said.
Iowa’s loss to the Spartans in overtime, 71-69, snapped a 20-game Carver-Hawkeye Arena winning streak. The No. 17 Hawkeyes, 6-3 in the Big Ten and 17-5 overall, will try and start a new one Tuesday against Ohio State (17-5, 4-5) in a 6 p.m. game televised nationally by ESPN.
“It’s something you have to relish and embrace,” Marble said of having the ball in his hands with the outcome hanging in the balance. “And if you shy away from those moments, then what are you playing basketball for?”
Marble’s shot against the Spartans also took Recker back to two memorable March days late in his senior season at Iowa. Recker nailed buzzer beaters, on back-to-back days, to knock off top-seeded Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the 2002 Big Ten tournament and Indiana in the semifinals.
“You’ve really got to want the ball in those situations,” Recker said. “You’ve got to be ready to go out there and make it happen. As a kid you’re always counting down … 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I can’t tell you how many times I did that in my backyard growing up.”
Iowa has had possession of the ball with a chance to win the game in the final seconds of regulation five times over the past four seasons. The Hawkeyes lost all five games in overtime.
“I thought Dev’s shot against Michigan State was down,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I called the play, we ran the play and he got the ball to four feet. He makes that shot 99 times out of 100.”
Marble also missed a shot at Purdue at the close of regulation last season, and Josh Oglesby had a three-pointer that went halfway down and spun out at Wisconsin. Bryce Cartwright missed a shot at the end of regulation in a 2011 game against the Badgers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Cartwright also missed a driving layup against Michigan at home that season in the closing seconds.
“Even if they would have gone in, I’m hungry for the next opportunity,” Marble said. “That’s why you play ball. The next opportunity I get, I’m definitely going to be ready and looking for a different result.”
Iowa’s last successful game-winning shot at the buzzer came on Nov.29, 2008, when Cyrus Tate’s layup as time expired gave his team a 65-63 victory against Kansas State in the third-place game of the Las Vegas Invitational.
McCaffery has had a recent taste of last-second glory as well. His Siena team beat Ohio State in double overtime, 74-72, in a 2009 NCAA first-round game in Dayton, Ohio. Ronald Moore hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to force a second overtime, then did the same thing from an identical spot on the floor to win the game.
“Depending on the circumstances, I typically won’t take a time out if we get the ball after a miss,” McCaffery said. “When Ronald hit those shots we didn’t take a time out. We just came down and played. Typically I trust my guys, whether it’s Mike (Gesell), Dev…I trust those guys to make sure we’re going to get a good shot, and make a good decision. A lot of times, the best play breaks down and somebody’s got to make a play anyway. Very rarely do you run a play to perfection because teams are really locked in (defensively).”
If Marble finds himself in another game-winning scenario, whether it’s Tuesday or later this season, Recker has some advice.
“Just trust your instincts,” Recker said. “Go out there and make a play.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball